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Beef Taco Salad

Beef Taco Salad


WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Golden and ultracrunchy, tortilla “bowls” make a perfect contrast to a saucy, spicy beef filling and crisp salad fixings. We microwaved flour tortillas to make them pliable and coated them with vegetable oil spray to ensure they crisped up in the oven. We found dressing unnecessary; the saucy meat and a bit of lime juice provided plenty of flavor. To avoid dried-out taco filling, be careful not to cook the meat beyond pink before adding the liquid ingredients, or it will overcook as it simmers. Serve with lime wedges and Mexican crema. See the sidebar that follows the recipe.

TACO MEAT

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped fine

2 tablespoons chili powder

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

½ cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar

Salt and pepper

SALAD

4 (10-inch) flour tortillas

Vegetable oil spray

2 romaine lettuce hearts (12 ounces), shredded

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed

8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered

2 scallions, sliced thin

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons lime juice

Salt and pepper

2 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend (½ cup)

1. FOR THE TACO MEAT: Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Include onion and cook until relaxed, around 5 min. Stir in chili powder and garlic and cook until fragrant, around 30 sec. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until almost cooked through but still

slightly pink, about 2 minutes. Blend in tomato sauce, vinegar, stock, and sugar and stew until somewhat thickened, around 5 minutes; blend will be saucy. Off warmth, season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. FOR THE SALAD: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange 4 ovensafe soup bowls (or 4 slightly flattened 3-inch aluminum foil balls) upside down on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Place tortillas on plate, cover with damp paper towel, and microwave until warm and pliable, about 30 seconds.

3. Generously spray both sides of warm tortillas with oil spray. Drape tortillas over soup bowls, pressing top flat and pinching sides to create 4-sided bowl. Bake until tortillas are golden and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cool upside down.

4. Combine lettuce, beans, tomatoes, scallions, and 2 tablespoons cilantro in large bowl; toss with lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place tortilla bowls on individual plates. Divide salad among bowls, top with taco meat, and sprinkle with cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro. Serve.

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